My second favorite multiplayer video game of all time:
Tetris (Game Boy)
I almost forgot to include Tetris in the list. That would have been a shame for such a revolutionary title. First of all, it pioneered multiplayer portable gaming. Second, it was simple to play – like some other games on this list, anybody can pick it up and play. Lastly, it came with every Game Boy shipped.
My brother and I were lucky enough to receive Game Boys for Christmas the first year they were out. Via the included link cable, we Tetrised our way through many a family car trip in the years following.
Is there anybody reading this who hasn’t played Tetris? Or at the very least, knows the concept? Line up blocks into rows. The rows disappear. Repeat. In multiplayer mode, clearing more rows hinders your opponent in their effort to do the same. First to let their screen fill up is eliminated. That’s all there is to it.
Literally everybody with a Game Boy had this game. The universal presence of it gave a huge boost. In the days before online gaming, being able to take a handheld system with you to other players was a capable substitute.
Currently, it is almost unheard of for a first-run system to come with a game, let alone an accessory like the link cable to connect players.
Unlike other multiplayer games (even some on this list) I could dig out my Game Boy, sit down, and enjoy Tetris just as much today as the first day I got it. In fact, I think I’m off to do that right now.